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Invisibility of the underwater world. A strange creature off the coast of California is closer to a man than a jellyfish

The man was sailing on a sap when he came across a rare tunic, 90 centimeters long

43-year-old rower from Southern California Bill Clements was almost 5 kilometers from the coast at Dana Point in Orange County, when something strange caught his eye – a transparent creature with only a spine visible was swimming in the ocean, writes USA Today .

Clements notes that it seemed as if only an exposed spine or a strange snake were floating in the water. However, realizing that in the Pacific Ocean he would hardly have been able to meet a snake, the man decided to raise something amazing from the water.

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Note that at that moment the man had no idea whether the creature would sting him, but curiosity got the better of him and he transparently pulled the creature out of the water, then he was able to examine it better – it seemed as if the creature consisted of separate fastened plates. In length, the creature reached from 60 to 90 centimeters and turned out to be a single organism.

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Adult tunicates can reach human height

Photo: Bill Clements

Later, Clements learned that in the ocean he was lucky enough to meet with nothing more than a sea salp. Despite the fact that these creatures are transparent and look like jellyfish, they have more in common with humans than with jellyfish. It is known that these translucent invertebrates are able to reach human size. Also, tunicates, as they are also called, do not have stinging cells, and therefore they do not pose any threat to humans and are incredibly beautiful.

According to Carla Heidelberg, professor of biological sciences and environmental studies at the University of South Carolina, the fact that a man managed to encounter a sea salp of this size so close to the shore on the surface of the water is incredible, since these creatures tend to prefer to hide from prying eyes. in deeper ocean waters.

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Salps are closer to humans than to jellyfish, despite the similarity

Photo: Bill Clements

Interesting facts about sea salps

  • Salps move across the ocean by pumping water through their body – this method is considered one of the most effective examples of jet propulsion among animals;
  • marine salps also use jet propulsion for feeding, so they absorb phytoplankton;
  • these creatures look like jellyfish, but belong to the group of ascidians, which makes them closer to humans than to jellyfish;
  • some of them grow extremely fast and reach maturity in 48 hours;
  • the body length of the salpa increases by approximately 10% every hour, and therefore they are considered the fastest growing creatures on Earth;
  • salps are extremely beneficial to the environment – they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by compacting the eaten tiny plants into tiny granules that sink to the ocean floor.

Previously , Focus wrote about a mass grave in the abyss of the ocean – millions of dead crabs at a depth of 4000 m baffled scientists .

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